Gonna Fly Now

Roky Erickson's miles from home, and that's a good thing

"I just expected this to be real good, ya know?" Roky says. "My manager's been booking a lot of concerts for me, and this is going real well. Been a lot of fun. Exciting. I've been havin' a lot more fun since I began playing."

He says he performs the songs he likes and the ones he missed playing for years: "Cold Night for Alligators," "The Wind and More," "The Interpreter." He's amazed that audiences know all the words. He's delighted by their chants: "Rok-ee, Rok-ee, Rok-ee." He says he always knew he'd come back. He says he "enjoyed" McAlester's movie. He says "it was a new experience for me, watching it told that way." He says he thought the movie "would be a good idea" and that "it was a lot of fun."

"One time, Keven bet me $10 I couldn't finish one of Sumner's omelettes, because he puts everything in 'em," he says. "And I finished it, and he had to pay me $10." He laughs. "They're really good. They're big omelettes."

Roky Erickson's not only sane -- he also has a driver's license.
Roky Erickson's not only sane -- he also has a driver's license.

He says he loves being with his brother on the road. "He thanks me for bringing him along, and I tell him, 'It's my pleasure.'" He's also brought along his ex-wife Dana, who left Roky years ago when she believed his madness had become contagious. "I just decided I wanted to have her along, so I asked her if she wanted to come along, and she said, 'I'd love to.'"

And he says he loves playing his old songs now, more than ever. "I'm seeing clearer now than ever before, and I'm receiving the songs now in a way I didn't before." He's "thinking about writing new songs," and might record a collection of unreleased songs before the year's end. He likes touring in Europe, "even though it feels like you're miles from home."

So, Roky, did you miss all this?

"Yes, I did," he says. "I was on vacation for a while. But after they talked me into doing a couple of numbers at Threadgill's, I had a good time. It was exciting. People said they missed me performing, so I said I would. And it really felt good being onstage."

Roky lives.

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